Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet: The Poetess 'Asma bint Marwan

ʾASMAʾ BINT MARWAN (عصماء بنت مروان‎) was another victim of Muhammad's intolerant wrath. ʾAsmaʾ, a pagan woman married to Yazid ibn Zayd, was a poetess who lived in Mecca. Upset with the killing of Abu 'Afak,* this Meccan poetess had the temerity to write a lampoon against Muhammad. Ibn Ishaq has preserved the poem for us, and, by modern standards, it seems rather innocuous.
I despise B. Malik and al-Nabit
and Auf and B. al-Khazraj.
You obey a stranger who is none of yours,
One not of Murad or Madhhij.
Do you expect good from him after the killing of your chiefs
Like a hungry man waiting for a cook's broth?
Is there no man of pride who would attack him by surprise
And cut off the hopes of those who expect aught from him?"
Life, 675-76.**

How dare this pretentious pagan poetess write to her townsmen blaming them for paying heed to a "stranger who is none of yours," one who was responsible for "the killing of your chiefs," i.e., Muhammad? How dare she hope for a "man of pride who would attack him by surprise," and ruin the hopes of the Muslims, "those who expect aught from him?"

The name Muhammad eight times encircling the
name of Allah in Arabic calligraphy

Those words merit death: that much is clear to a hypersensitive, priggish, self-aggrandizing moral monster. So naturally, when Muhammad heard the report about this poetess' words, Ibn Ishaq relates that he said, "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?"

(Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter? Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter? No, the question is: Who will rid us of Muhammad? )

And among his motley crew of Muslims assassins, he found many a volunteer, among them a member of the victim's husband's tribe. Ibn Ishaq tells us that this assassin "crept into her house that night." The poetess had five children, one so young as to still be nursing, and which, in fact, was sleeping at her breast. The assassin of Islam removed the child, drew his sword from its scabbard, "and plunged it into her, killing her in her sleep." Allahu Akbar! Oh the weary and ever-prevalent takbir (تَكْبِير) which seems to be on the lips of the murderous, the assassins, the evil, the brutal, the vicious to justify their crimes, tribute to the great Satan whose name is Allah.

(Maybe I speak too harshly? But whoever this Allah is that is invoked after an act of hatred, this Allah is not the Lord of Life, the Dominus vitae.)

Killing women is apparently this great Satan Allah's will, for الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best. That's why Hassan ibn Thabit, a Muslim poet, could write such enormities in his opposing poem:
She stirred up a man of glorious origin,
Noble in his going out and his coming in.
Before midnight he dyed her in her blood
And incurred no guilt thereby.
Life, 676. Incurred no guilty thereby? Pray you obtuse Muslim poet, how? Muhammad stands guilty of murder before the natural law, which is to say, he stands guilty before the law of God. Since obedience to the natural law, which is the law of God, is essential for salvation, it would seem that Muhammad is objectively damned by the killing of this innocent mother who was giving suck to child. But then again, perhaps his thoughts for ʾAsmaʾ's five children were the same as his thoughts for the children of her fellow townsmen 'Uqba: Hell could raise them!**

Imagine the absurdity: Ibn Ishaq says the killing brought "conversions" among the Banu Khatma, a tribe at Mecca. How many of the Banu Khatma learned to love Allah because an assassin killed a women who was nursing her child while she slept? Ibn Ishaq relates:
[W]hen 'Umayr [the assassin] went to them [the Banu Khatma tribe] from the apostle he said, "I have killed Bint Marwan, O sons of Khatma. Withstand me if you can; don't keep me waiting. That was the first day that Islam became powerful among Banu Khatma; before that those who were Muslims concealed the fact.
Life, 676.

What was Muhammad's response to the murder he had ordered? Of course, the response was how a perfect man ought to respond to the news that his order to murder someone has been fulfilled:
In the morning when he ['Umayr] came to the apostle [Muhammad] and told him what he had done and he said, "You have helped God [Allah] and his apostle, O 'Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her," so 'Umayr went back to his people."
Life, 676.

No, Muhammad. Two goats will not butt heads over the murder of ʾAsmaʾ. You are right, Muhammad. Two goats, like two devils and their master Beelzebub, won't care one bit. But the God who loved ʾAsmaʾ, though she was pagan, will care. And so will you, because the God whom you invoked and abused for your personal and political gain will hold you accountable for your infractions of the natural moral law, just as he will all men, regardless of color, race, or creed.

* * *

The Muslims are wont to follow mention of Muhammad with the salawat (alayhi s-salām, عليه السلام, "Peace be upon him," or ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam, صلى الله عليه وسلم‎, "May Allah honor him and grant him peace, sometimes shortened as PBUH, and SAAW). There is even a symbol available it as a Unicode: ﷺ.

I do hope Muhammad found peace, though in view of his violations of the natural moral law, I harbor my doubts. Foris canes et venefici et inpudici et homicidae et idolis servientes et omnis qui amat et facit mendacium. (Rev. 22:15) To overcome these sins against the natural law, some of which we have discussed in prior postings, more of which we will discuss in postings to come, Muhammad is not deserving of honor and does not merit peace: he needs mercy. I think a better salawat, one consonant with the verdict of the natural moral law and the promise of the Gospel would be: Muhammad, الله يرحم روحه, Allah yirhamu, may God have mercy on his soul.
*We have written a post on Muhammad's assassination of Abu 'Afak which brought so much discomfiture to our ʾAsmaʾ, who, as far as I can tell, was a much better person than Muhammad ever was. See Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-The Case of Abu 'Afak.
**A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Risat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006) (herein referred to as Life). Maxime Rodinson's version is a little more vulgar:
Fucked men of Malik and of Nabit
And of 'Awf, fucked men of Khazraj
You obey a stranger who does not belong among you,
Who is not of Murad, nor of Madh'hij
Do you, when our own chiefs have been murdered, put your hope in him
Like men greedy for meal soup when it is cooking?
Is there no man of honour who will take advantage of an unguarded moment
And cut of the gulls' hopes?
Maxine Robinson, Muhammad (New York: The New Press, 1980), 157-58 (translated from the French by Anne Carter).
**On Muhammad's murder of 'Uqba, see Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-Al Nadr and 'Uqba.

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